New Yorker Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman) is on the verge of losing his dead-end job as a jingle writer. Warned by his boss (Richard Schiff) that he has just one more chance to deliver, Harvey goes to London for a weekend to attend his daughter's (Liane Balaban) wedding but promises to be back on Monday morning to make an important meetingor else. Harvey arrives in London only to learn his daughter has chosen to have her stepfather (James Brolin) walk her down the aisle instead of him. Doing his best to hide his devastation, he leaves the wedding before the reception in hopes of getting to the airport on time, but misses his plane anyway. When he calls his boss to explain, he is fired on the spot. Drowning his sorrows at the airport bar, Harvey strikes up a conversation with Kate (Emma Thompson), a slightly prickly, 40-something employee of the Office of National Statistics. Kate, whose life is limited to work, the occasional humiliating blind date and endless phone calls from her smothering mother (Eileen Atkins), is touched by Harvey, who finds himself energized by her intelligence and compassion. The growing connection between the pair inspires both as they unexpectedly transform one another's lives.
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Cast & Crew
Dustin HoffmanActorDustin Lee Hoffman was born in Los Angeles, California, to Lillian (Gold) and Harry Hoffman, who was a furniture salesman and prop supervisor for Columbia Pictures. He was raised in a Jewish family (from Ukraine, Russia-Poland, and Romania). Hoffman graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1955, and went to Santa Monica City College, where he dropped out after a year due to bad grades. But before he did, he took an acting course because he was told that "nobody flunks acting." Also received some training at Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. Decided to go into acting because he did not want to work or go into the service. Trained at The Pasadena Playhouse for two years.More
Emma ThompsonActorEmma Thompson was born on April 15, 1959 in Paddington, London, into a family of actors - father Eric Thompson and mother Phyllida Law, who has co-starred with Thompson in several films. Her sister, Sophie Thompson, is an actor as well. Her father was English-born and her mother is Scottish-born. Thompson's wit was cultivated by a cheerful, clever, creative family atmosphere, and she was a popular and successful student. She attended Cambridge University, studying English Literature, and was part of the university's Footlights Group, the famous group where, previously, many of the Monty Python members had first met. Thompson graduated in 1980 and embarked on her career in entertainment, beginning with stints on BBC radio and touring with comedy shows. She soon got her first major break in television, on the comedy skit program Alfresco (1983), writing and performing along with her fellow Footlights Group alums Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. She also worked on other TV comedy review programs in the mid-1980s, occasionally with some of her fellow Footlights alums, and often with actor Robbie Coltrane. Thompson found herself collaborating again with Fry in 1985, this time in his stage adaptation of the play "Me and My Girl" in London's West End, in which she had a leading role, playing Sally Smith. The show was a success and she received favorable reviews, and the strength of her performance led to her casting as the lead in the BBC television miniseries Fortunes of War (1987), in which Thompson and her co-star, Kenneth Branagh, play an English ex-patriate couple living in Eastern Europe as the Second World War erupts. Thompson won a BAFTA Award for her work on the program. She married Branagh in 1989, continued to work with him professionally, and formed a production company with him. In the late 80s and early 90s, she starred in a string of well-received and successful television and film productions, most notably her lead role in the Merchant-Ivory production of Howards End (1992), which confirmed her ability to carry a movie on both sides of the Atlantic and appropriately showered her with trans-Atlantic honors - both an Oscar and a BAFTA award. Since then, Thompson has continued to move effortlessly between the art film world and mainstream Hollywood, though even her Hollywood roles tend to be in more up-market productions. She continues to work on television as well, but is generally very selective about which roles she takes. She writes for the screen as well, such as the screenplay for Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility (1995), in which she also starred as Elinor Dashwood, and the teleplay adaptation of Margaret Edson's acclaimed play Wit (2001), in which she also starred. Thompson is known for her sophisticated, skillful, though her critics say somewhat mannered, performances, and of course for her arch wit, which she is unafraid to point at herself - she is a fearless self-satirist. Thompson and Branagh divorced in 1994, and Thompson is now married to fellow actor Greg Wise, who had played Willoughby in Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility (1995). Thompson and Wise have one child, Gaia, born in 1999.More
James BrolinActorJames Brolin was born on July 18, 1940 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Craig Kenneth Bruderlin. He is an actor and producer, known for Traffic (2000), The Amityville Horror (1979) and Westworld (1973). He has been married to Barbra Streisand since July 1, 1998. He was previously married to Jan Smithers and Jane Cameron Agee.More
KATHY BAKERActorFor someone who has made an award-winning impact in all three mediums (stage, film and TV), actress Kathy Baker has been strangely denied all-out stardom, yet continues to demonstrate her versatility in whatever material comes her way. The comely blonde was born Katherine Whitton Baker in Midland, Texas, to Helene Andree Baker (nee Whitton) and John Seawand Baker, a geologist and educator who taught at both Princeton and the University of Paris. Raised in New Mexico, she first took to the stage at age 10. Influenced by her French-born mother, Kathy attended the University of California at Berkeley and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in French in 1977, then went to Paris to study haute cuisine at the famed Cordon Bleu. She returned to the States to work as a pastry chef, but discovered that she still wanted to act and eventually joined San Francisco's Magic Theatre, where she appeared in the play "The Man Who Killed the Buddha." Her performance drew the immediate attention of playwright Sam Shepard. 1983 was a banner year for Kathy. At the Magic Theatre, wherein she used the stage name of Kathy Whitton Baker, Shepard cast her in a leading role in one of his new plays, "Fool for Love." The premiere garnered exceptional notices and the play (and Kathy) went to New York. She and co-star Ed Harris, won 1984 Obie Awards for their rich performances, as did playwright Shepard for directing. The production itself won the Obie for "Best New American Play." That same year Kathy made a strong movie debut co-starring in The Right Stuff (1983) as the wife of astronaut Alan Shepard (played by Scott Glenn). Displaying an attractive intelligence in her performances, Kathy continued to make strides on the New York stage both in 1984's "Desire Under the Elms" and as a replacement for the Lemon character in the Obie-winning "Aunt Dan and Lemon" at Joseph Papp's Shakespeare Festival in 1986. Later in the decade, both Kathy and Morgan Freeman stole the thunder right from under star Christopher Reeve in the tense film drama Street Smart (1987) with Kathy delivering a grim, heartfelt performance as an ill-fated hooker to Freeman's feral pimp. Both perfs delivered a one-two punch and were applauded for their shocking realism. Each received their share of awards and plaudits; Kathy nabbed both the National Society of Critics and Boston Society of Critics awards, but was shamefully snubbed when it came to the Oscar race (Freeman was nominated, but lost). Throughout the rest of the decade Kathy continued to give spot-on performances in such quality films as Clean and Sober (1988), as a recovering addict; Permanent Record (1988), as a wife whose son commits suicide; Jacknife (1989), in which she was reunited with Ed Harris as the put-upon, plain-Jane sister of an alcoholic Vietnam vet; and Edward Scissorhands (1990) as a seemingly model housewife who has an uncontrollably flirtatious nature. Top-flight stardom seemed to be almost a given. With the new decade, however, the movie roles tendered out to her became less frequent or noteworthy so Kathy decided to focus outside her medium of choice and actively search for TV roles. The results were customarily expert. In the slightly quirky Picket Fences (1992), Kathy found a perfect fit taking on the role of small town mother and doctor Jill Brock. Running for four seasons, she was nominated for an Emmy each year and took home the trophy three of those four times for "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series". Into the millennium Kathy has maintained consistency with quality roles in the more recent releases Cold Mountain (2003) and The Jane Austen Book Club (2007). On TV she and Helen Mirren picked up supporting Emmy nods in the bittersweet Door to Door (2002), with Emmy-winning William H. Macy starring as a man with cerebral palsy. In 2001 she joined the cast of Boston Public (2000) as a manipulative mom (another Emmy nomination). Some of those episodes were directed by Steven Robman, whom she married in June of 2003. Kathy has two sons from a previous marriage.More